Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Review

Won't You Be My Neighbor Theatrical Poster

Believe it or not, there was a time when children’s learning programs weren’t the norm. Before Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, there was “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The soft-spoken man from Pittsburgh became a revolutionary with children’s programming. But is a film about the non-controversial Fred Rogers a good subject for a documentary?

For a film about Fred Rogers, there is a lot of great stories to tell about him—especially if you weren’t there from the show’s humble beginnings. It’s definitely more interesting than you can imagine.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor examines the legacy of Fred Rogers and the impact of the beloved children’s show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Fred Rogers Senate Hearing

First off, Won’t You Be My Neighbor doesn’t necessarily cover all of Fred Rogers’ life. Instead, the film primarily covers the entire history of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” So while it may seem like it’s about Fred Rogers’ life, it’s actually about the history of the show and its influence on people.

As you can imagine, the show made an influence on a lot of people. What the documentary does so well is in the way it shows how revolutionary the show was. The show wasn’t afraid to cover current events and explain them to kids. At one point, the show even talked about what assassination meant because the Robert Kennedy assassination happened that week. This is just one of the many examples that the film showcases. If you watched “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” before and felt like you learned something, that’s because you did.

But in order to get this point across, the film tends to show seemingly full-length scenes from various episodes. As a result, this slows the film down because, let’s be real, “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” isn’t the most energetic of TV shows. On the other hand, the scenes need to be this way because showing bits and pieces of a clip won’t be as impactful. It’s a catch-22 kind of scenario.

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Fred Rogers

Not to mention, the film has tons of heart. I mean what else would you expect from a film about Mister Rogers? There are an inherent goodness and graciousness that Fred Rogers just exudes. Of course, seeing the kindness and integrity of the show will make you wish that we have that right now. It’s something that’s clearly missing in our current society.

Then again, Won’t You Be My Neighbor covers so many topics that it even has modern-day views on the show. Needless to say, they’re very unflattering views about the show. Today’s world is so cynical that a kindliness of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is being blamed for some of today’s problems. At the same time, the film shows the blunt side of Fred Rogers. The man is so righteous and protective of kids that the film shows his disapproval of “obscene” children’s content like a G.I. Joe or superheroes. It may be common by today’s standards but back then it wasn’t the norm. These are just a small sample of the many topics in this documentary.

Overall, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a heartfelt film full of goodness and generosity. It’s absolutely a film that’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end. There are a few minor issues to be found but the film is something that we definitely need right now. Neighbor’s message that all the world needs is kindness and love is a universal message that everyone needs to see.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1311 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.